One of the best things in the life of this journalist is getting to cover high school and youth sports. To be able to tell the stories of the young men and women that don the red and white for Grand County High School, starting every fall and running almost into summer, is a dream job.
To be clear, from my point of view, covering the Red Devils makes covering government and civic affairs bearable. It makes life worth living as a storyteller.
It’s a job that gets even better — if a little nightmarish to cover — as we approach the end of the school year and playoff action ensues. With the playoffs you never quite know who you’re going to play ahead of time, or even if you’re going to be required to drive halfway across the state to get photos and an interview. It’s a labor of love, however, and whether I am at the game covering the action, or working with other news outlets to get the story, it’s all worth it.
The value of this comes from knowing that in about two weeks, high school sports will be finished for the year. Then it’s on to mountain biking, the outdoor life and youth baseball. I’m waiting for the rodeo to come to town as well. I grew up on a ranch in northern California and miss the smells and sights of bulls, horses, flying ropes and the wee mutton busters that might become the next rodeo god, a Tuf Cooper or Ryder Wright.
But now with the heat and sunshine our area thrives on, it’s time to bid adieu, for at least the next three months, to our mutual adoration for the Red Devils and each of the teams we field during the school year. It’s going to be a tough slog, waiting for football to convene under head coach Dennis Wells and his able cadre of assistants. A summer with no high school sports is inevitable every year, but it’s what us old school sports writers call “the slow season.”
One great aspect of summertime recreation and sports coverage is that writers don’t get tied to an all-or-nothing schedule of events. As a high school sports writer you generally know exactly where you will be at 7 p.m. two Fridays from the first week in September. You build your life around game coverage that is pretty well set in stone.
With the summer months you get a more meandering, go-with-the-flow type of coverage map. You can find yourself with a bunch of skydivers on a Thursday, all while covering a golf tournament on a Saturday. Maybe I’ll actually get to take that river trip I have been planning for months and months. Perhaps there will be some nugget of a story about recreation in Grand County and the parks that has never been written about. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll find something out about ourselves as we peel away from the fields and courts we cherish during the school year — and enjoy the outdoor life.
It’s going to be a tough few months; I never like the off-season. But, in a weird way, maybe this will refresh us all for August when the Red Devils will rise again.